Volcanoes of Ecuador

Antisana (18,874ft/5,752m), Cayambe (18,993ft/5,789m), Chimborazo (20,701ft/6,310m)

Despite being one of the smallest countries in South America, Ecuador is privileged to possess great diversity of people, scenery, geography, flora and fauna. Main attractions found here include: the Galapagos Islands (made famous by the publication of “The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin); the Amazon rainforest; the Pacific Coast, filled with beautiful and relaxing beaches; the central valley or Sierra with its colorful indigenous markets; and of course, the impressive volcanoes that form the Andean Range of Ecuador. All of these destinations are in close proximity to the capital of Quito and this easy accessibility is yet another advantage to visiting Ecuador.

For those interested in high-altitude mountaineering, Ecuador is a perfect introduction and one of the best training grounds in the world for developing mountaineering techniques at high elevations. The challenges here are similar to those found in the highest mountain ranges of the world. Climbers from all over the world come to the Ecuadorian Andes for their fist high altitude experience, to perfect climbing techniques and to better understand the physiology and adaptation of their bodies before continuing to other climbs of similar or higher elevations.

The Ecuador Volcanoes Trip
Alpine Ascents International has carefully developed an excellent itinerary that includes a well-designed acclimatization program, a review and development of techniques in the glaciers at Cayambe, (including snow-climbing techniques, roped climbing techniques, glacier travel, and crevasse rescue); the opportunity to ascend the three highest volcanoes in Ecuador: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe; a combination of first-class lodging, excellent food along the expedition; and extremely experienced guides whose work and passion has taken them to lead mountaineering expeditions throughout the world including the Himalayas.

This expedition has a duration of only two weeks, making the Ecuador Volcanoes Trip one of the best choices for those who wish to climb to a high altitude without the excessive costs in time and money required for travel to similar regions of the world.

Ecuador maintains one of the world's best systems of mountain refuges from where we begin our ascents. The approaches to the refuges are very short. We are able to drive directly to the refuge at Cayambe. However for acclimatization reasons, we climb for an hour with daypacks until we arrive at the refuge. In order to reach the refuge at Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, we have to walk forty-five minutes carrying a large backpack with approximately forty to fifty pounds. The ascents are made within one day and take an average of ten to twelve hours to complete the climb. Therefore, it is not necessary to use high camps and the majority of our equipment can be left in the refuge with only those items that are necessary for the climb in our backpacks. The fact that our packs are relatively light for the summit attempts is an essential factor for success.

Apart from the great mountaineering, the itinerary has also been designed to provide an excellent, culturally enriching experience in a calm and friendly country. We visit various sites of interest along what was called “The Avenue of the Volcanoes” by German scientist Alexander Von Humbolt . We visit the old city of Quito with its beautiful churches, streets and colonial buildings, the famous indigenous market at Otavalo, small towns, and indigenous communities in the countryside and we lodge in friendly haciendas full of history.

All of this combines to set a superb scene in high altitude mountains and to make Ecuador a favorite mountaineering destination.

Jose Luis Peralvo

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